I still remember that when I first set foot on HKBU campus, I felt the University’s strong concern for environmental protection. There were banners advocating low carbon campus initiatives everywhere.

Soon after I joined HKBU, I received a report on green measures for campuses and offices from the Task Force on Sustainable Campus. This spurred me to think of environmental ideas; barter, which is becoming popular in recent years, came to mind. A few years ago, I joined an exchange platform for used goods named JupYeah as a volunteer and became a “crew jupper”. Launched by a few hip post-80s youths, the platform operates in the form of large-scale bartering activities and can be accessed online. Promoting the reduction of unnecessary consumption and value maximisation of old objects, it has attracted a large number of trendy folks to join. As far as I understand, JupYeah has a twofold implication: first, to tidy up odds and ends; and second, to get some commodities free of charge. Both these aspects are effectively served via this platform.

Every year JupYeah conducts different types of bartering activities on an irregular basis. “Juppers” can bring used but still useful goods and pick their favourites among the available items. Sure, finding something you like brings happiness, but not as much as seeing one’s pre-loved goodies being picked by someone else. For some large-scale activities, goods are placed on thoughtfully and ingeniously designed shelves. Occasionally there may even be live shows and homemade snacks.

As a volunteer, apart from providing assistance in bartering activities, I also serve as the website administrator for JupYeah, helping in reviewing uploaded submissions and giving approvals. Every “jupper” should take a picture of the item that he/she would like to make available and upload it in exchange for tokens (one token for each item, regardless of its original value), with which he/she can “jup” other things from the pool, with no cost incurred. Unlike bartering on a first-come-first-served basis, the owner can select any interested “jupper” at his/her own discretion, and the two of them can then arrange to pick-up or deliver the item, either face-to-face or by mail. There is no limitation to the number of items that a “jupper” shares or “jups” and the number of transactions he/she takes part in. However, no transaction can involve money, except for postage. Some “juppers” enjoy exchanging goods with others while others simply want to find a new home for their pre-owned items.

Don’t ever think that the items “released” by “juppers” are all worn-out stuff. In fact, many of them are brand new, or even of a well-known brand. One can find a huge variety of items through the platform, ranging from musical instruments such as guitars, theme park tickets, designer handbags and clothing, high-heeled shoes, perfumes, skincare products, childhood toys to bulky furniture. The reasons for “releasing” things are varied; a gift which no longer fits their needs, changes in taste after using it for some time, an impulse purchase with subsiding sizzle, and moving apartments are all commonly mentioned reasons. With no limits imposed on the number of “juppings”, it can be easy for frequent “juppers” to forge close friendships.

To me, bartering is a valuable tool that enables me to reduce my consumption, urges me to tidy up my odds and ends, and provides opportunities to make friends with like-minded “juppers”. Since shopping needs money, why not take part in “jupping” for free? “I don’t waste the used, I use the wasted.” is my motto. I earnestly hope that more and more people could support bartering and contribute to environmental protection.